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Department of Dead Ends. The Department of Dead Ends was created by “Roy Vickers,” the pseudonym of William Edward Vickers (Fidelity Dove, Dixon Hawke, Sefton Kyle, Inspector J. Rason, James Segrove), and appeared in forty short stories in a variety of magazines and two short story collections from 1934 to at 1963, beginning with “The Parrot’s Beak” (The Daily Mail, Oct. 23, 1939).

The department came into existence in the spacious days of King Edward VII and it took everything that the other departments rejected. For instance, it noted and filed all those clues that had the exasperating effect of proving a palpably guilty man innocent. Its shelves were crowded with exhibits that might have been in the Black Museum, but were not. Its photographs were a perpetual irritation to all rising young detectives, who felt that they ought to have found the means of putting them in the Rogues’ Gallery.

Those who work in the Department “proceeded largely by guesswork. It was the function of the department to connect persons and things that had no logical connection. In short, it stood for the antithesis of scientific detection. It played always for a lucky fluke. Often it muddled one crime with another, and arrived at the correct answer by wrong reasoning.”

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